There is a difference between rising anxiety and rising dread.
Before my father came ashore in Normandy during World War II, he spent two-three very-long-months in Colchester, England, preparing for the invasion. He told me that it was a time of rising anxiety – increasing worry about the unknown. What would happen to them in France? The wait was excruciating.
More recently, our national health officials, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, are warning us that the next two-three months will also be very-long-months, full Covid horrors. It is rising dread, because we already know what is ahead . . . trailers full of the dead, mass burials, exhausted healthcare workers, the tears of loved ones, and depressing 24/7 TV coverage of all that sorrow.
Compounding this problem is the surprising number of people with Seasonally Affected Disorder (SAD), which peaks every year during the dark of winter. The rising suicide rate is expected to rise even more. Be kind to them . . . but also beware of them! They contribute little to your emotional well-being.
Financial planning is a well-established profession. Emotional planning is not . . . but should be. You may already have a financial plan, but you also need an emotional plan for the next two-three very-long-months. How do you begin? The second thing you do is — write down your fears. Third, how will you minimize watching TV coverage? Fourth, how will you “treat” yourself — how will you be extra nice to yourself? Fifth, how will you immunize yourself from sorrow of others. Sixth, make a list of people who make you smile. But, FIRST, pick up a piece of paper and a pen — and start writing.
Existentialists might be helped by reading the classic “The Stranger” by Albert Camus, who received the Nobel Prize in Literature years ago. I learned that the only difference between being alive and being dead is that you are aware of being alive. As the death toll rises relentlessly over the next two-three months, we know that those victims are no longer suffering . . . how about you?
I’ve written all my lists and am now spending an inordinate amount of time planning a cruise for late next year . . .
According to Jewish folklore, a Persian king once asked his court for something that would help him stay positive. They gave him a ring engraved with “This Too Shall Pass”!